Choosing Decorative Aggregates

Referred to as decorative aggregates, stone chippings, gravels and stones of various sizes and a surprising number of colours can have many uses around your home and garden.

Decorative aggregates can be part of a landscape scheme that will enhance the appearance of your garden or be employed practically as a mulch to conserve moisture. Whatever their purpose, you can be sure that there's quite a choice.

Ponds are increasingly seen as a garden essential as they are so effective in attracting wildlife into the garden and, to landscape the bottom of your pond, its edges and the area around the water, aggregates are tremendously useful. They can also be used around self-contained water features in particular to disguise reservoirs.

Always choose specialist pond safe pebbles that are rounded and clean, these are available at between 10mm – 30mm, with the larger Scottish pebbles looking particularly attractive around the edge and smaller stones at the base of the pond providing hiding places for aquatic animals and at the same time helping to keep the water clean and providing anchorage points for plants.

Drought tolerant and gravel gardens are becoming more popular as people become attracted to low maintenance gardening and want to experiment with plants that originate from hot climates. Two inches or so of aggregates covering the surface of the soil will help retain any available moisture especially if the plants are thoroughly soaked when they go into the ground. This method can also be used for planters and other containers that lose moisture very quickly during the summer.

In any other type of garden you'll find that aggregates are very good at suppressing weeds. To maximize their effectiveness you can lay a permeable membrane underneath that allows rainwater to drain through, and holes can be cut for plants. The choice of colour and size of aggregate will depend on what type of landscape you envisage, but one thing is certain, it will feature very few, if any, weeds.

Rockeries, together with alpine gardens, use stone to replicate the natural landscape with plants blending with and flowing over the jagged edges of freshly quarried stone to create a feature that never seems to go out of style. Many different coloured aggregates are available to achieve a delightful landscape that really catches the eye and is the perfect use for this natural product.

A path through flower beds or anywhere in the garden created with slate chippings or gravel has a very natural appearance that blends easily into the landscape. These are best laid on a firm base and the colour and size you choose can vary from Cotswold cream gravel to blue or green slate, terracotta gravel to a multi-coloured mix to match the garden's colour scheme.

Simply spread over a large area from a bulk bag or bags of a more manageable size delivered on a pallet, gravel can also be used to good effect when laid on the drive as you will hear any car drawing up or an individual approaching the house, so increasing security.

With so many uses and boasting a value for money price tag, aggregates provide an easy and very effective solution for many garden landscape problems, practical as well as decorative, they have the advantage of being a natural product that is very hard wearing and likely to offer long term and very versatile service.